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 Where are the savings?

That's what a local state lawmaker and many auto insurance customers want to know, now that nearly a year has passed since an insurance reform bill became law.

State Senator Don Gaetz, of Niceville, says he voted for the reform bill in exchange for lower premiums. But he says insurance companies aren't holding up their end of the deal.

Auto insurance customers we spoke with agree with Senator Gaetz.

Jennifer Shew says she hasn't seen any savings on her auto insurance and that, "If anything it's gone up. I have not seen it go down."

Rahn Russell, another auto insurance policyholder agrees, saying, "If they're saying there's savings, they need to step up to the plate and do what they're saying because I haven't seen it."

Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law in May of last year. It was meant to crack down on insurance fraud.

Current state law requires drivers to buy personal injury protection. It pays up to ten-thousand dollars for injuries and lost wages regardless of who's at fault in a crash.

The reform law put a 14-day limit on seeking treatment after a wreck. And it capped benefits at $2,500 unless a doctor determines the injured person has an "emergency medical condition."

Insurance agent Sonja Coggins of the Coggins Insurance Agency in Escambia County says, "Actually I don't think they've given the program a chance to work."

Coggins points out that much of the law just went into effect at the beginning of the year.

She says, "The companies have to look at all their loss ratios as they go along and hopefully in the next six months then we can start seeing some difference in the premiums."

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford said he shares Senator Gaetz's concerns. And Governor Scott has said he wants personal injury protection fixed or ditched.

The next legislative session, meanwhile, begins next month.
Posted 7:35 AM  View Comments

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